Editor’s Note: Published in New York, “Beijing Spring” is a Chinese monthly magazine founded in June, 1993. Its goal is to promote human rights, democracy and social justice in China. In September 2006, Mr. Lu Gengsong wrote an article titled “China’s Armed Police and Nationalization of the Police Force,” which gives a detailed analysis of China’s police system. Mr. Lu, a member of China’s Democratic Party in Zhejiang Province, has written a number of articles to examine China’s political system as a freelance writer. In August 2007, Public Security Bureau in Hangzhou City (capital city of Zhejiang Province) arrested him. In January 2008, local procuratorial authorities accused him of “inciting the subversion of state power.” The following is the translation of Mr. Lu’s article “China’s Armed Police and Nationalization of the Police Force.” 
In December last year (2005), Chinese authorities in Guangdong Province dispatched massive armed police force to suppress farmers in Shanwei Village, resulting in the death and missing of several dozen people. This year, authorities in Zhejiang Province dispatched armed police to suppress Christians in Xiaoshan City on July 29. On August 2, as a group of people from Xiangyin County of Hunan Province appealed to city government for local officials embezzling the compensation for their reallocation, local government again dispatched massive armed police to suppress these petitioners. It was said that the armed police shot and killed more than 100 petitioners on the spot. So, what kind of force is China’s armed police? What role does it play in China’s political arena?
De Facto “Schutzstaffel”
On June 21, 2005, the People’s Armed Police (PAP) held its First National Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Congress. The CCP Committee that came into being as a result of the Congress was a humongous organization:
– The Secretary General of the CCP Committee of PAP:
Sui Mingtai, the Political Commissar of the PAP Headquarters
– The Deputy Secretary General of the CCP Committee of PAP:
Wu Shuangzhan, Commander-in-Chief of the PAP
– All Deputy Commanders-in-Chief, Deputy Political Commissar, Chief of Staff, Director
of Political Department, and Director of Logistic Department are members of the
Standing Committee of the CCP Committee of the PAP.
– Commanders-in-Chief and Political Commissars of the PAP Corps in all Provinces,
Autonomous Regions, and major Municipalities are members of the CCP Committee of
– Commanders and Political Commissars of the PAP Mobile Divisions are members of
the CCP Committee of the PAP.
– Commanders and Political Commissars of the PAP Corps under Xinjiang Construction
Corps are members of the CCP Committee of the PAP.
With more than 100 members, the PAP’s CCP Committee is the largest CCP committee, only second to the CCP’s Central Committee. The PAP’s CCP Committee is under direct leadership of Zhou Yongkang, member of the Standing Committee of the Politburo of CCP Central Committee, secretariat of CCP Central Committee, Minister of Public Security as well as the First Political Commissar of the PAP. He is also the First Secretary of the PAP’s CCP Committee. It is quite thought-provoking. The PAP had been under the dual leadership of State Council and CCP’s Central Military Committee (CMC). For a long time, there had never been a CCP Committee set up within the PAP. Why did Hu Jintao decide to establish the CCP Committee – what’s more, a humongous one, last year? It is not difficult to see that it has some important hidden political message in the decision.
On July 16, 1999, the PAP launched a political campaign called “Striving to Be Loyal Defenders for the CCP and the People.” Jiang Zemin, then Party Chief, wrote an inscription for the campaign: “Be Loyal Defender for the CCP and the People Forever.”
Since Hu Jintao came into power, he repeatedly emphasized “to build the PAP to be a politically reliable, solid, civilized armed force; to train the PAP officers and the soldiers to be loyal defenders of the Party and the people.” At the PAP’s First National Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Congress last year, Zhou Yongkang, then Minister of Public Security, the First Secretary of the PAP’s CCP Committee, and the First Political Commissar of the PAP, stressed “to truly construct the PAP to be a politically reliable, solid, civilized armed force that strengthen the ruling position of the Party, defend the national security and social stability.” Chief Commander Wu Shuangzhan and Political Commissar Sui Mingtai published an article at Qiushi magazine , stating that “only by building the PAP to be a politically reliable, solid, civilized armed force, by training the PAP officers and the soldiers to be loyal defenders of the Party and the people, can we handle our enemies at ease wherever they are making troubles for us, and effectively strike them hard no matter how they change tactics to sabotage us.” In this article, Wu Shuangzhan and Sui Mingtai expressively identified groups such as Taiwan’s pro-independence group, Tibetan independence movement, East Turkistan movement (Uyghur independence), Chinese democratic activists, and Falun Gong group as enemy forces and instructed the PAP to “handle with ease” and “strike with efficiency.” As a matter of fact, added onto their enemy list are human rights defenders for farmers who lost their land and involuntary early retired workers, as well as religious activists who have not been sanctioned by the government.
Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao require the PAP to “be loyal defenders for the CCP and the people forever.” Leaving alone the fact that they put the CCP in front of the people, the word “people” itself is a mere pretense. As proven by the 85-year history of the CCP, the Party and the people have always been as incompatible as water and fire. They never were and will never be a unity. Therefore, this requirement can only be interpreted as to “be a loyal defender for the CCP forever.” When Zhou Yongkang spoke of the three major tasks of the armed police as “to strengthen the ruling position of the CCP, to defend the national security, and maintain social stability,” only the first task “to strengthen the ruling position of the CCP” is for real. It is a deceiving propaganda to mislead the officers and soldiers in the armed police force so that they would follow the CCP blindly and sacrifice their lives for the CCP. When Hu Jintao came into power, he initiated a training class for high-ranking officers in the PAP studying the important ideology of “Three Represents,” at which he proposed that the PAP must do well in two “historical tasks,” i.e., “competent to conquer the enemy” and “never change the nature [of the PAP].”
What does the two “tasks” mean? Why did Hu raise these issues at such a high level as “historical?” Being able to conquer the enemy means the PAP is competent and able to fight at the front line; while “never changing the nature” means it is always conforming to the Central CCP Committee in ideology and political goals; in other words, the PAP must strictly follow the leadership of the CCP under all circumstances.
From the above instructions, we can see that the regime now exerts tighter control over the PAP than Peoples’ Liberation Army and normal police (Public Security). On the other hand, the PAP is most loyal to the CCP, as the loyalty is determined by the nature of the PAP. As the function of PLA is to defend the country when foreign invasion occurs, army officers and soldiers understand that army is part of the government branch. Police or Public Security are dealing with civilians on daily basis. Most of the police types, such as public transportation police, criminal justice police and domicile registration enforcement police, are serving the society. The only exceptions are the “State Security” and “610 Office”, which are running dogs of the CCP. The PAP is an armed force for domestic issues. It has the function of both an army and the police. This is a force without which the totalitarian regime cannot live. Some people compare the PAP to the ancient “palace guards” or “royal army”; some compared it to gendarmerie in certain countries; while most people believe it is quite right to compare the PAP to Nazi German’s Schutzstaffel.
The Predecessor of the PAP: The CCP’s Political Protection Squadron
The establishment of the PAP can be traced back to the 1930s. Following the Soviet Union’s Cheka organization, the CCP formed Guard Battalion, Guard Regiment, Security Regiment, Security Corps, Protection Corps, Protection Troop, Guard Troop, Political Protection Troop, and Traitor-Eliminating Regiment. These organizations mainly carried out the tasks including guarding the military and political heads of the CCP, protecting CCP’s political and military organizations, assassinations, guarding criminals, and maintaining local social security. At that time, these organizations had the combined functions of public security, state security, and armed police. Deng Fa, Kang Sheng and Li Kenong all had served as the heads of this terrorist organization. Even the veteran CCP members would feel frightened upon hearing their names. On August 31, 1949, the CCP Central Military Commission (CMC) ordered to establish the Central Corps of Chinese People’s Public Security under the Minister of Public Security, with the role of guarding the security of Central CCP Committee, Central Government and Beijing. At the same time, in large cities, units such as Public Security General Corps, Public Security Corps, General Pickets Corps were formed by People’s Liberation Army soldiers. At provincial and county level, Guard Battalion, Guard Company, Public Security Corps, Guard Troops and Law Enforcement Troops had been established. Railroad Armed Police Force was formed along the railroad. Most of these armed forces were under the jurisdiction of Public Security authorities at different levels; some belonged to the military system. Among them, the Central Corps of Chinese People’s Public Security was the predecessor of the PAP.
The Common Platform passed at the First Plenary Session of Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference included a Stipulation on Establishing a Centralized Army for People’s Republic of China: People’s Liberation Army and People’s Public Security Force. In December 1949, a Plan to Consolidate the People’s Public Security Armed Forces at All Levels was made at the First National Conference on Public Security. From January to May of 1950, all public security armed forces were reorganized to Chinese People’s Public Security Army (CPPSA), under the jurisdictions of public security authorities at all levels. CPPSA was composed of the Central Corps of Chinese People’s Public Security (including two divisions and one regiment), three public security divisions, twelve Public Security General Corps, one General Pickets Corps, one Guard Regiment, three provincial Public Security Regiments, and several Public Security Corps, Squadrons, and Troops. During the period, the central public security authorities started to build border administrative authorities and armed forces.
After that, the names and governance of the public security armed forces underwent various changes. (Changes such as: In 1951, CMC decided to reorganize the border forces and local Public Security Forces into Public Security Forces of PLA, under the jurisdiction of CMC; in 1955, the Ministry of Defense reorganized the army and renamed the Public Security Forces of PLA into PLA’s Public Security Corps (PSC). After this reorganization, the Public Security Armed Forces at county level were under the jurisdiction of local Public Security authorities and renamed as the People’s Armed Police. The Ministry of Public Security (MPS) established Armed Police Bureau; departments of Public Security at provincial level established the Armed Police Section, basically the same structure as before 1952. In 1957, the CCP’s Central Committee decided to rename PLA’s PSC to Chinese People’s Public Security Army (CPPSA). In 1958, the CCP’s Central Committee and CMC decided to reorganize the CPPSA into the People’s Armed Police. In 1963, the CCP’s Central Committee approved Luo Ruiqing’s  “Report on Renaming the People’s Armed Police to Public Security Army”, and decided to recover the name of CPPSA. The organizational system and jurisdictional relationship remained unchanged, i.e. under dual leadership of the military system and public security.)
At the eve of the Great Cultural Revolution, Mao Zedong ordered to eliminate the whole CPPSA, make it part of PLA. The headquarters of the CPPSA were rearranged to become the headquarters of Second Artillery Corps under PLA. The national Public Security armed forces were rearranged to independent divisions, regiments, battalions, companies, and squadrons, under the jurisdictions of provincial military districts or metropolitan garrisons. On July 31, 1979, CCP’s Central Committee approved Wu Lanfu’s  Report at National Border Defense Working Conference by building a uniform border defense armed police force. On June 19, 1982, according to “A ‘Report to request Instructions on Administration of the People’s Armed Police Force’ from the CCP Committee of MPS approved by CCP’s Central Committee”, the People’s Armed Police were restructured, incorporating PLA’s local Internal Guard Service to be under the MPS together with Border Defense Armed Police Force, and Fire Fighters. On April 5, 1983, the PAP was formally established in Beijing. The PAP headquarters was located inside the MPS. The PAP Corps were set up under Department of Public Security at provincial level. The PAP Divisions were set up under Bureau of Public Security at city level. At county level, the PAP Groups or Squadrons were set up under the Section of Public Security.
What’s the most complicated is the governing system for the PAP, which is under direct leadership of the State Council and CMC, while at the same time subject to the local administrations and commands of the Party committee, local government, and public security authorities at different levels. First, the PAP is under the paramount leadership of CCP; second, it is under dual leadership of the State Council and CMC; third, it is subject to the jurisdiction of Political and Law Committee of CCP; fourth, it has to follow the orders from Party committees, local government, and public security authorities at different levels; finally, the PAP troops at lower levels is under the command of the PAP offices at higher levels. In March 1995, the State Council and CMC made a major adjustment to the governing system of the PAP. Under the new governing system, the State Council and CMC carry the role of overall leadership and administration over the PAP, assisted by Pubic Security authorities at different levels. This adjustment strengthened the CMC’s control of the PAP. In December 1996, CMC promoted the official rank of the PAP from Deputy Military Region level to Military Region level. During the years between 1995 and 1999, CMC promoted the PAP Corps at a provincial level up to the level of deputy army commander level.
One can see from the evolution of the PAP that the names of the PAP have been changed among “Public Security Forces,” “Public Security Army,” and “Armed Police”, while the naming the PLA and Public Security have been relatively stable. The frequent changes were because of the unique nature of the PAP. A normal government only needs an army to fight invaders and a police force to maintain social order. There is no need to maintain the armed police force that has both the function of an army and that of a police force. However, as the CCP seized power by violence, they fear that such a regime can also be overthrown by others by violence, as history has repeatedly proven. As the CCP wants to govern the country forever, it has to resort to violence. Although the CCP has a gigantic army force, an army can not be casually dispatched, especially by local officials. In all other countries, as the Chinese saying goes, the government “trains an army for a thousand days but use it for an hour.” To the contrary, the CCP has to “maintain an army for a thousand days and use it for a thousand days.” The PAP officers and soldiers ridicule themselves for being used for “a thousand days.” It is precisely the most prominent characteristic of China’s Armed Police. Without this characteristic, there would be no need to maintain such an armed force.
(To be continued)
 Beijing Spring, September 2006
 Qiushi magazine, the official mouthpiece publication of CCP’s Central Committee.
 Luo Ruiqing, then Deputy Minister of Defense, member of Standing Committee of CCP’s Central Military Committee, Secretary-general of CMC, and Chief of General Staff.
 Wu Lanfu, then head of United Front Work Department of CCP’s Central Committee